Today, let's talk a little bit about what you should do if a federal agent comes into your place of business, shows you their credentials, and asks you for a few minutes of your time. What should you do?
As a former federal prosecutor, (and currently, as a criminal defense lawyer in Augusta, Georgia), I can tell you that you should, at a minimum, be careful about how you proceed. Naturally, if it's merely an F.B.I. agent who is canvassing the neighborhood for leads on a bank robbery, then you may feel comfortable in cooperating with them, (unless you are the bank robber, of course!)
In such circumstances, cooperating with law enforcement may often be a "good" thing. But there can, in some situations, also be some "bad" and really "ugly" possibilities, too!
For example, if you are not an innocent bystander, but, instead, you are a target of a federal grand jury investigation, then you should, in my opinion, always contact an experienced federal criminal defense attorney before you talk with anyone. Let's face it, anything you tell a federal agent can and will be used against you. But there is more! Did you also know that if you knowingly make a false statement to a federal agent, then you could also be charged with the federal criminal offense of making a false statement. Also, you could, in some situations, even be charged with obstruction of justice!?
So, that's the good, the bad, and the ugly about talking with a federal agent! Again, in many of these situations, the point is that it would probably behoove you to consult with your own criminal lawyer BEFORE you talk with anyone else!